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Old 12-21-2011, 03:42 PM   #53
pip_muenster OP
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Joined: Jan 2010
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany
Oddometer: 493
Day 12

Benni and Ernst were meanwhile exploring the south. They proposed to meet at Landmannalaugar in 1 to 2 days. So we took road 821 again, heading to Laugafell first. Only this time, the weather was much worse. It had cooled down and was often drizzling rain. The road up the mountain was slippery and a few creeks had found there way onto the track.

Once up in the highlands we had to add some additional layers of clothing as the wind chill factor took part in the game. Laugafell was an extremely welcome sight. We were welcomed by the ranger who allowed us to use their kitchen to warm up and have lunch.
But most importantly, Laugafell has its own hot pot. Lying in the hot water under the clouded sky, with some raindrops here and there was extremely comfortable. I could have stayed in there all day long.

if we wanted to meet the guys we had to move on. We took the F752 to the Sprengisandur and had to cross 2 rivers. The second one was not too deep, but wide and with a bit of a current. It looked impressive and we discussed the situation with a guy in a 4x4. He wanted to watch us to see if he could make it, but we made it very clear that it would be the other way around ...
The jeep made it across easily and it seemed so could we. I went first. At some point I lost the grip on the front wheel which slipped uncontrollable to the left. I went over.

(video screen capture)

The bike lay under me on the side, surprisingly with the engine still running. I picked it up and continued to the other side.
Maddin came over without trouble at all.
I checked my luggage and gear and found everything important to be dry and save. There was some water at the bottom of the pannier, but that affected nothing but the inflatable matress and some tools. I had to change clothes as my legs, feets, arms were all dripping wet.

A bit later we came to the
Sprengisandur and continued further south. We've been told that there would be 2 tough water crossings on the F26, with a camp side after the second one. The first would be deeper, but the second one much wider and more technical. Other riders had passed and turned around a couple days earlier. We arrived at the first water crossing in the evening and this is what it looked like:

Water crossing on the F26

All the rivers reach their highest water levels by the end of the day, due to the increased melting over the day. Here, the water seemed shallow enough not to reach our air intakes, but when I tried to walk through, the strong current pushed my legs away. I couldn't get to the other side on foot. (would have been a bright idea to bring a hiking stick) We walked up and down the banks to find a suitable way across, but couldn't find a save route. To make it worse, this was glacial water, which made it impossible to see the ground.
While we were standing there, a Cherokee and a new Land Cruiser showed up and went across. The Cherokee almost got stuck on the banks.

Then a ranger showed up in his jeep. (They are usually checking the roads at the end of the day for anyone unlucky enough to get stranded.) We discussed the water situation with him and decided not to try it this evening. Maybe we would camp here and see whether it would be easier in the morning. One problem was that the second river was known to be the difficult one actually. If we made it across this one, we could end up trapped between two rivers.

The ranger going across. We could see his jeep being pushed at least 1m to the side due to the strong current in the middle.

That decided it for me. I was freezing, already dripping wet and probably quite exhausted. Camping and going across would be adventurous, but the hot spring a few kilometers back in Laugafell was much more tempting. I voted for the hot pot, although knowing that this would not leave us enough gas to try it again tomorrow.

On the way back I used the opportunity to check how my bike would do lying on the other side in the river. No problem either, the snorkel was doing well. Nevertheless, I was pissed.

We checked in at Laugafell, opted for the heated hut and jumped in the hot pot.
Also, it was a brilliant idea to bring some single malt ...
Reports: Nordkapp - Mt. St. Helen - Black Sea - Iceland - Morocco - Balkan

pip_muenster screwed with this post 12-28-2014 at 08:09 AM
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